In 2017, Max Scherzer cemented himself as the centerpiece of the Washington Nationals. He is the perfect mix of star power, ability and, most importantly, consistency. He also became the consensus No. 2 pitcher in all of fantasy baseball.
I say consensus second because almost everyone would consider him to be positioned right behind the mythical figure that is Clayton Kershaw. Scherzer has made a pretty strong case to take that top spot next year if everything goes just right for him and the Washington Nationals.
First off, let’s get this straight. It’s a long shot for anyone to surpass Kershaw. Right now there’s Kershaw in tier one and everyone else is below him.
With that being said, if Kershaw’s back hurts him he could miss some time and it could hurt his performance. Kershaw only pitched 149 innings last year, but in those innings he had a strikeout rate over 10 and an ERA well under two. He’s a Hall of Famer when on the mound and, if he’s healthy, he will once again be the best pitcher in the world and the best fantasy pitcher.
Insert “Mr. Reliable,” Max Scherzer, and you have yourself one of the only true competitors for Kershaw’s throne.
He has pitched at least 210 innings over the last four years and only had one year with an ERA above three in that stretch. He’s coming off of his career high in strikeouts with 284 last year and he hasn’t been under 230 in the last five years.
Scherzer did have a injury at the end of the year with a fractured knuckle in his pitching hand. He still was a lights out pitcher and will be missing the World Baseball Classic because of this injury. This gives him a somewhat regular offseason and gives Nationals fans a break from the injury concerns that the WBC provides.
Whether or not Scherzer takes over as the best pitcher in the game is something we will have to wait on. We do know that he will be gone by the second round in most fantasy drafts. Scherzer gives you everything you want out of a pitcher for real life and fantasy purposes. You get your high strikeout numbers, wins, innings and he doesn’t give up a ton of runs.
In today’s fantasy game, having an ace like him is more important than ever. There was a time where you could slide by with a lower-level ace and some sort of collection of other arms. Now pitching is no longer as dominant and you don’t have many out there that are as consistent as you need them to be.
You need an ace.
You must have at least one or two if you really want a chance of winning your league. Your best choice of that bunch is Scherzer. He in the only pitcher in the entire league to be over 220 innings pitched and 250 strikeouts in each of the last three seasons. That is why he is “Mr. Reliable” and if he’s not injured he will do it again.
Nationals fans have a lot to look forward to in 2017 for Scherzer. He’s going to notch his 2000th strikeout and likely be in the chase for another Cy Young. He should also be your fantasy ace so that you have a lot to look forward to.